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RD ministry may stop MGNREGA funds

By EMN Updated: May 08, 2014 12:55 am

Principal Correspondent

THE Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India, has threatened to stop providing funds under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) because of their poor utilisation.
MoRD Joint Secretary Aparajita Sarangi said the Union Ministry has been providing Rs 300 crore annually for implementation of MGNREGA in 1148 villages in Nagaland. However, she lamented that the utilisation of the funds have been very poor compared to the neighbouring states of the North East region.“MGNREGA funds have not been utilised, so how can more funds be given,” Sarangi said while addressing a gathering of heads of line departments during a programme on “Convergence Workshop on MGNREGA with other schemes” at Rural Development conference dall here today.
“Last year, MoRD provided Rs 300 crore under MGNREGA for Nagaland, but the funds have not been utilised,” she said while warning not to provide funds unless utilised for specified projects under the scheme. She also highlighted that “neighbouring states of the region have been doing very well, but Nagaland is very much behind”.
Maintaining that about 65% of the projects under MGNREGA in Nagaland have been for rural connectivity, she appreciated that connectivity is being provided in the rural areas. But at the same time, she stressed the need to create durable and sustainable assets with the help of line villages.
Stating that MGNREGA cannot move in isolation, she stressed on inter-departmental convergence of the scheme with agriculture, forests, water resources, land, rural roads and sanitation to encourage increase in productivity of assets and resources, which will help enhance better rural livelihood.
Sarangi pointed out that Nagaland needs to deliberate on diversification of the MGNREGA programmes along with the line departments. She also called upon the RD department officials to conduct field trips to other states to see the works done under convergence scheme.
She said there will not dearth of funds under MGNREGA, but it has to be properly utilised for creation of durable and sustainable assets ensuring that the works selected are feasible and that the geo-physical attributes of a particular area justify the particular strategies recommended by the village development boards. She said the real challenges of implementation are faced by the field level functionaries and it is their initiatives that will make MGNREGA effective. She said convergence should concentrate on preparation of district plans for implementation, conducting workshops and training, close monitoring and documentation of convergence projects. She also shared successful sustainable livelihood models identified in some states which are worth replication.
Meanwhile, the MoRD joint secretary also said further release of funds under MGNREGA for Nagaland will depend on the preparation of a state convergence plan within next 15 days.
Earlier, delivering the opening remarks, Chief Secretary Banuo Z. Jamir said being a huge programme mismanagement corruption was eminent but since the State already has strong institutes like Village Development Board and Communitisation, transparency and accountability has to be maintained.
She also said convergence of the line departments in implementing the projects would help create durable assets in the village, which will ultimately make the people productive and the State progressive in general.
She, however, maintained that the departments should not simply provide funds to the villages, but it should make proper planning and set up target projects from the district to village levels.
Maintaining that MGNREGA is much beyond providing wage to the rural people, she suggested on focussing on rural connectivity with a stress on sustainable development for enhancing permanent productivity. She also maintained that under the scheme equal wage should be provided to the women job card holders so as to help in empowerment and raising the status of women through the programme.
Director of Rural Development Metsubo Jamir, presenting an overview of the implementation of MGNREGA in Nagaland, said so far 4,11,290 job cards have been issued throughout the State. He said a total of 33279 works spending an amount of Rs 296348 lakh from 2006-2014.
Meanwhile, interactive workshop on MGNREGA operation guidelines and revised schedules will be held from May 8 to 10 at the same venue with resources persons drawn from MoRD.

By EMN Updated: May 08, 2014 12:55:02 am